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On Finding an Interesting Use for an Underground Building

In an underground building, what if the boundary to celebrate is as much the vertical one as it is the horizontal one? You may celebrate its “below-ness” by making connection with what is above your site’s grade in a not-so-typical way.

With a “sensing” design mindset, you can bridge the two worlds with much more than a dramatic entrance into or exit from the natural light. For example, you can use new lighting technologies.

In the image above, you can see how an LED lighting display at the National Gallery of Art makes use of the long underground corridor which connects the East and West Buildings illustrating that what happens below grade is not a place to be boring, but rather a place that presents you, the architect, with an environment maintaining different rules and different opportunities.

So, instead of always trying to replicate what happens above into what happens below, you should make use of the qualities that the underground brings: light differences, temperature differences, construction method differences, material differences and so on. Make what happens underground an experience to remember, not just an out-of-the-way appendage to your architectural project.

Image Credit: © dbking | Flickr

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